What is Yoga? What is Reiki? #01

What is Yoga? What is Feng Shui? What is Reiki?


Yoga is all about relationships-your relationship with yourself, with the people in your life and the world around you. This makes the yoga path a journey of connection (both internal and external). The Sanskrit root from which the word 'yoga' derives - yuj - means to 'yoke', or to connect.



Many people think of yoga as either a system of physical exercise or a calming means of escapism from the chaotic world. Yoga can be either of these but it is also so much more; it is a way of exploring both the body and the mind, and through such enquiry, of realising and 'connecting with' our vast untapped potential. Yoga (both on and off the mat) offers each and every one of us a metaphorical ladder - toward 'jivanmukti', liberation in life. As we climb the rungs of this ladder, we take on the yoga viewpoint, or 'dharshana', and ascend out of a world of stress, worry and limitations. We can learn to see beyond ourselves and develop the relationship with our higher, more contented 'self'. A regular spiritual, mental and physical yoga practice can empower and ground you, helping you to bring stress under control and to cultivate balance and life-purpose amid the chaos....


Yoga Practice

Yoga teachers will often refer to "your practice," which means your individual experience with yoga as it develops over time. The amazing thing about yoga is that your practice is always evolving and changing, so it never gets boring. Although the poses themselves do not change, your relationship to them will. Anyone can start a yoga practice, even if you don't feel like you are very flexible or very strong. These things will develop over time. Another great thing about thinking about "your practice" is that it encourages the non-competitive spirit of yoga. One of the most difficult, but ultimately most liberating things about yoga is letting go of the ego and accepting that no one is better than anyone else. Everyone is just doing his or her best on any given day.


Yoga Classes

In addition to practicing the poses, yoga classes may also include instruction on breathing, call and response chanting, meditation, or an inspirational reading by the teacher. The variety and amount of this will depend on the individual teacher and the yoga tradition in which he or she has trained. Typically, a yoga class at a gym will be more focused on the purely physical benefits of yoga, while one at a yoga centre may delve more into the spiritual side. Some people find that the physical practice of yoga becomes a gateway into a spiritual exploration, while others just enjoy a wonderful low-impact workout that makes them feel great. Whatever your tendency, you will be able to find a yoga class that suits your style.


What are the Eight Limbs of Yoga?:

According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the ancient texts that is the basis for the philosophy behind yoga, there are eight “limbs” (Ashtanga in Sanskrit) of yoga. Each limb relates to an aspect of achieving a healthy and fulfilling life, and each builds upon the one before it. You may be surprised to hear that only one of the limbs involves the performance of yoga postures. Here is a description of the eight limbs:


1. Yama: Five ethical guidelines regarding moral behaviour towards others:

Ahimsa: Non-violence
Satya: Truthfulness
Asteya: Nonstealing
Brahmacharya: Nonlust
Aparigraha: Noncovetesness

2. Niyama: Five ethical guidelines regarding moral behaviour towards oneself:

Saucha: Cleanliness
Santosa: Contentment
Tapas: Sustained practice
Svadhyaya: Self study
Isvara pranidhana: Surrender to God

3. Asana: Practice of yoga postures.

4. Pranayama: Practice of breathing exercises.

5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses, meaning that the exterior world is not a distraction from the interior world within oneself.

6. Dharana: Concentration, meaning the ability to focus on something uninterrupted by external or internal distractions.

7. Dhyana: Meditation. Building upon Dharana, the concentration is no longer focused on a single thing but is all encompassing.

8. Samadhi: Bliss. Building upon Dhyana, the transcendence of the self through meditation. The merging of the self with the universe. Sometimes translated as enlightenment.


What Are the Health Benefits of Yoga?

You've probably heard that yoga is good for you. Maybe you have even tried yoga and discovered that it makes you feel better. But what are the specific health benefits can you expect to enjoy from doing yoga regularly?


Physical Benefits

Flexibility: Stretching your tight body in new ways will help it to become more flexible, bringing greater range of motion to muscles and joints. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips.

Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg (such as in Tree Pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing Dog).
Some exercises require you to move slowly in and out of poses, which also increase strength.

Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.

Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don't give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.


Mental Benefits

Mental Calmness: Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.

Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are doing yoga. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping put things into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started.

Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.


Home Practice

Practising at home is essential: It teaches you to witness yourself from moment to moment, to become more responsive to your own needs. It deepens your knowledge of yoga. Plus, it just feels good. Start by doing what you can, where you can, when you can. Don't let the idea of a "perfect practice" prevent you from falling in love with the practice that you have—or the practice that is just a few steps away.



WHAT IS FENG SHUI?

Feng Shui (wind & water) is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.
Feng Shui is based on the concept that everything in your environment has a life force or energy called “chi.”

Just as chi flows through your body, chi also flows your through living environment. When the energy flow is stagnant (think clutter and overflowing closets), moves too quickly (think long dark hallways, stairs, and straight shots through the home), or is obstructed (think walls, trees, or even cars in the wrong place), the unbalanced chi may lead to ill health, domestic strife, or financial concerns.

Feng Shui in your home can:


Improve relationships

Create a healthier home

Help with house sale/purchase

Attract a partner

Develop your career

Create greater prosperity and happiness



WHAT IS REIKI?

A Brief Overview


Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy."

A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Many have reported miraculous results.

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.

An amazingly simple technique to learn, the ability to use Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. This ability is passed on during an "attunement" given by a Reiki master and allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of "life force energy" to improve one's health and enhance the quality of life.

Its use is not dependent on one's intellectual capacity or spiritual development and therefore is available to everyone. It has been successfully taught to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.

While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.

While Reiki is not a religion, it is still important to live and act in a way that promotes harmony with others. Dr. Mikao Usui, the founder of the Reiki system of natural healing, recommended that one practice certain simple ethical ideals to promote peace and harmony, which are nearly universal across all cultures.

During a meditation several years after developing Reiki, Dr. Usui decided to add the Reiki Ideals to the practice of Reiki. The Ideals came in part from the five prinicples of the Meiji emperor of Japan whom Dr. Usui admired. The Ideals were developed to add spiritual balance to Usui Reiki. Their purpose is to help people realise that healing the spirit by consciously deciding to improve oneself is a necessary part of the Reiki healing experience. In order for the Reiki healing energies to have lasting results, the client must accept responsibility for her or his healing and take an active part in it. Therefore, the Usui system of Reiki is more than the use of the Reiki energy. It must also include an active commitment to improve oneself in order for it to be a complete system. The ideals are both guidelines for living a gracious life and virtues worthy of practice for their inherent value.

The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine of all diseases
Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.

Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.
Pray these words to your heart
and chant these words with your mouth

Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind
The founder , Usui Mikao

Sources:
Light on Life, B.K.S. Iyengar, 2005.
Yoga: The Iyengar Way, Mira Silva and Shyam Mehta, 1990.



click here to email 07967 647220